Before you start reading this, just take a moment to notice how much space you are taking up.
And then imagine yourself getting bigger and wider and bigger and wider.
Spreading out like pancake batter and filling a whole room.
Softening into the space around you.
Getting so tall that your head pushes up and out of the ceiling, your arms poke through the windows, and your legs extend into the center of the earth.
I love that.
And now just come back to you, being you.
Feel where your body ends and the rest of the world begins.
Notice your skin making contact with the air.
Let your mouth open slightly.
Notice what parts of your body are making contact with whatever piece of furniture you are using right now.
Notice how your feet feel against the floor beneath you.
And notice your breathing.
I am now moving away from mindfulness
(Tangent: my computer just changed the word “mindfulness” to “manfulness” - not kidding, that just happened - which is soooooo weird and so perfect for what I am about to talk about next).
I just read a hysterical little post where a woman walked down the sidewalk without ever getting out of anyone’s way.
She didn’t do any micro adjustments to give space to other pedestrians, and she didn’t move out of anyone’s way.
She just walked her path - straight ahead, not accommodating anyone in any way.
Guess what happened?
You got it.
She didn’t bump into any women, but she smacked head-on into 28 men, who also were not micro adjusting, moving out of the way, or accommodating any one.
The subway thing that is all over facebook and social media right now, with men taking up 2 or 3 seats as they spread out like that pancake batter I mentioned, while women are curling in and up to accommodate?
That is what I am talking about.
Who takes up too much space, who doesn’t take up enough space, and who falls somewhere in between.
How much space do you take up during any given day?
How much space do you give up during any given day?
How much do you accommodate so others have enough space to navigate comfortably in their environment?
How much space are you taking up right now?
Just as an experiment, right at this moment, I want you to take up a little bit more space than you normally do.
And a little more.
A little more.
A tiny bit more.
How does that feel??
And now pull back in.
And take up less space than you normally do.
And a little less.
And a little less.
And a little less.
How does that feel?
I just had an experience today where I wasn’t taking up enough space.
I was making myself smaller than I am because I wanted to do it right, and I was new to the environment I was in, and I was a little nervous, and I wasn’t so sure of my footing, and I felt like I shouldn’t be there
(Okay, fine I will tell you where I was when this happened since you are so curious:
Skate Skiing Lessons. So hard.
And I suck, seriously suck, at this sport.
Someone recently said, “Well someone has to take the role of being the worst one in the class right?”
I have taken on that role in this class: Let me just name it and get it over with: I AM THE WORST ONE IN MY SKATE SKIING LESSON).
And guess what I got called??
The instructor told me I was being too dainty.
I guess in this instance yes, I was being “dainty” because I was getting small and letting everyone else take up the space.
I was accommodating and accommodating and accommodating so I wouldn’t get in anyone’s way.
I was very polite.
And very dainty.
I am making a pact with myself to practice being “undainty” next week.
Instead I am going to try to be big, unwieldy, and mammoth in my quest to stay upright on my skis.
Wish me luck.
(Dainty actually feels much more comfortable in this situation).
Last Tangent before you get your dance mission for the week:
Speaking of “Dainty”: I had an imaginary friend named Dainty when I was a little kid. Dainty was in jail for murdering someone. She lived on bread and water, but got raw meat thrown into her cell when she behaved. I loved her, and I loved that she always figured out how to sneak out of jail to come hang out with me. She always went back though, to jail, every night, right before I fell asleep.
What do you think that all means???
Anyway, your dance mission for the week (oh how I have missed these dance missions!!!)
is to notice when and how you are occupying the space around you.
Are you micro-adjusting?
How much are you accommodating?
Are you smacking head-on into people?
Are you making way for others to pass by?
Do you want to take up more space or do you want to take up less?
Can you take up space even if you are in an unknown situation?
And just for the hell of it, since I haven’t spoken to you in awhile, let’s go back to a favorite dance mission: Put on a favorite song, and just dance.
And, hey, let yourself take up a lot of space for this one.
And then send this blog post along to two people:
To one person who takes up way too much space, and one person who doesn’t take up enough.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment here or feel free to email me too.
With Warmth and Jivey Vibes,
Joanna and the Agitators
sweetly agitating/persistently upending